I read this morning in Mark 9:40, that whoever is not against us is for us. These are the very words of Jesus Christ but often forgotten by those that bear his name. We expend energy in fighting other believers and ignoring the real enemy.
Too often doctrinal litmus tests are developed to see who is in and who is not. We spend effort dividing over Bible translations, pet doctrines, music styles, dress style, building style and other non-essential issues.
The King James Only crowd think us reprobate because we read and teach from a “modern” translation. The reformed people have great sport bashing the dispensationalists. The dispensationalists retaliate with derision for reformed eschatology. The list of reasons to divide is seemingly endless. These are a few examples of the disputes within the community of those who take the Bible seriously and seek to live out what it says.
This post is not a plea to water down or soften or eliminate a hard stand on what the Bible says. We do not need to compromise what we believe. There are passages which speak directly to the issues of today and we need to uncompromisingly teach them.
There are groups which have beliefs that are clearly in conflict with Scripture, usually recognizing other “sacred” books which are necessary for understanding the Bible. We are not to compromise on doctrine, nor should we cease to point out the error in these false religions. Jesus is not saying that all interpretations of Scripture are equally valid.
I think that the point Jesus makes in this verse is that we are to concentrate on fighting the real enemy and stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who is willing to join us in the battle, whether we agree with them on every doctrinal point or not.
My guess is that when the battle is finally over we will all find out that our own knowledge was incomplete and some of the people we bashed along the way had as much truth as we.
Anyone who is bringing people into relationship with Jesus Christ is our ally. Anyone who is pointing people to Scripture as the foundation for belief and practice is our friend. Those who are not against us are for us.
What do you think?